Stairs vs Box Steps vs Hill Sprints

  • Creator
  • #64775

    Before I get in to my questions, I do want to be clear that I’m not trying to rehash the real stairs vs stairmaster conversation. I have seen quite a few threads in the forums here that debate that topic at length.

    I’m starting to really get my training program in to full swing (planning a climb of Rainier in late June), and would like to start incorporating weekly interval workouts with the aim of helping to increase the pace that I can sustain while walking uphill with a pack.

    What I’d really like to understand is if the types of workouts I’ve listed below are ones that would give the types of benefits I’m looking for? If not, I would very much appreciate some suggestions.

    1. Intervals on stairs with 2-3 minutes of sustained climbing at reasonably high levels of effort (ranging from 50% – 90% of an “all out” effort)

    2. 8-12 in. box steps, with intervals similar to stairs

    3. Hill sprints of 8-10s at near max effort (I have access to 15-20% grade near me)

    I am not looking to substitute any of this for longer hikes with weight. For those, I will be taking the time to get up in to the mountains on the weekends (it’s typically a 60-90 minute drive from where I live to get to the prime training hike spots in my area).

    I’m looking more for workouts that I could do closer to home (or maybe even at home) during the week, and would likely not involve much, or any, added weight.

  • Participant
    Shashi on #64822

    Are you currently following one of the Uphill Athlete mountaineering training plans or building your own plan based on the Training for the New Alpinism book?

    justin.holzer on #64825

    I’m using my own plan based on TftNA and also another program called “Fit to Climb”, which is built on the same periodization principles laid out in TftNA.

    Anyways, I’ve really enjoyed using stair climbing interval workouts in past training, but to be perfectly honest, when I used those workouts in the past I cut some corners, based on how the workouts were originally described to me. The workouts described to me said to climb the stairs (at various levels of effort) for 2-3 minutes before descending. However, I never found stairs tall enough to climb for 2-3 minutes without reaching the top, and I didn’t want to use a stairmaster at the time (though I’m thinking about reconsidering). I settled on the local HS football stadium.

    So I’m really curious if there are alternatives to climbing stairs for 2-3 minutes at a fairly rapid pace that could provide a similar type of benefit. I’ll use the stairmaster if there’s no better option, but would prefer an alternative if feasible.

    Shashi on #64907

    Thanks for sharing the details. The workouts you mentioned might push you into Zone 4 intensity, which is not required for your goals. For Rainier, in the last eight weeks, you can add Muscular Endurance (ME) workouts. Till then, I would recommend focusing on building your aerobic base.

    Specific to ME, you can refer to this article that has workouts specific to Mountaineering –

    Vertical Beast Mode: What Is Muscular Endurance? Why Is It Important and How Do You Train It?

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